Filed under: BK All Day,Interviews,LA Big City Of Dreams,Video Clips
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Press days are one of the worst things about the interview game. Speaking to some dudes about their new album after they’ve spent the whole day answering the same corny questions is rarely a recipe for quality Q&A material. That being said, here are the better parts of my session with DJ Muggs and Ill Bill to promote the Kill Devil Hills LP, which is available now through Fat Beats Distribution.
Robbie: What can you tell me about your days in 7A3?
DJ Muggs: Everything was brand new, man. I was a wide-eyed kid, just looking at it. That was kinda my education into the music business, like 101. I learned what touring was – we went on our first tour with MC Hammer, E.U., Salt ‘N Pepa, Kid ‘N Play, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Kwame – I learned how to make an album, I learned how videos were made, I learned what publishing was. My publishing got took, all my ideas for the record – somebody else produced them – but it was my education, so everything I learned from that? I took to Cypress [Hill], and I had all the blanks filled-in. So when I sat down and played it for somebody, I had all the answers! There wasn’t one thing un-thought out, to leave to some 55 year-old A&R guy to fill-in the blanks for me. They did that with 7A3 – it was basically some A&R guy just doing everything, ‘cos we was just kids and didn’t know what the fuck to do.
What happened to the Bouldin brothers from 7A3 after you left?
Brett was still a writer for MCA, writing R&B hits and stuff, and Sean went into the marketing and promotions side. Brett still comes here – I let him use my back studio and he still makes beats.
Do you feel like a lot of producers took your sound form the Temple of Boom album?
I can’t say anybody took but I can say that people were inspired! That’s what I’m here to do, I’m here to inspire. But then again, I was inspired! Nobody made this shit up, you know?
How has your process of making beats changed since the first Cypress records?
It’s pretty much the same, dog. I get about three or four drum machines and just go through sounds on all of them at the same time and just work until I figure out something I like. Usually before a project I’ll just sample records for a month and get in and start working on the beats. I don’t really use computers, I don’t really use Pro Tools to make my beats. I might use some live musicians to come in and add some layers to the music, but the work-flow I have is still the same work-flow I’ve always had. I think when you start changing a lotta things up it changes a lotta things about you, man.
One thing you guys have in common is the fact that you both worked with Joe Fatal in the early 90’s, right?
Yeah, he was signed to Soul Assassins. I signed him just off of the verse on ‘Live At The BBQ’, but then I signed him and he couldn’t write! So I had to hook him up with my boy from 7A3 to write his lyrics, and that was just a clusterfuck.
Yeah, because he wasn’t even a rapper.
He got over. It was an interesting learning experience…
Bill, did you do a lot of other demos around the period of ‘Dopefiend’, which Fatal produced?
Ill Bill: There was a lotta different demos floating around. With that one, that wasn’t even supposed to…that come out without my approval. DJ Riz actually called me up, like, ‘Somebody stole your name, man! I’ve got this record right here – what’s going on with this?’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? What’s the name of the song?’ He threw it on and it was a demo I had done that just sorta got out there.
You had a really different style on that record too.
I was experimenting. Even now, I get bored. I listen to Nas and it’s ill how he really sounds the same on Illmatic to how he sounds now, vocal tone and all that. I never really stuck with that, I always kinda came from more of a rock ‘n roll singer point-of-view, try to entertain myself by sounding a little different of different tracks. All those first demos was me really buggin’ out. I think I sound really crazy from track to track in that era.
What was the connection with T-Ray?
He was doing Beatdown Records at the time through Warner Brothers, and he wanted to sign Non Phixion to his label, but it never happened. The Future Is Now would have come out through that, but he lost his distribution deal.
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